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Hazarika decision takes Assam by surprise

G Vinayak in Guwahati | February 28, 2004 10:48 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party may think that Bhupen Hazarika is a diamond in a galaxy of stars it has got in its kitty, but in his home state Assam, many influential organisations and people have questioned the music maestro's wisdom in joining the BJP.

The powerful All Assam Students' Union was first to fire the salvo against Hazarika, in many ways Assam's icon over the past few decades. AASU said Hazarika has put the state to 'shame' by joining hands with a party which had insulted him not too long ago.

In a move that caught many by surprise, Hazarika joined the BJP in New Delhi on Friday. He is likely to contest the Tezpur Lok Sabha seat in north Assam as a BJP candidate.

"We had stood by Bhupenda when the BJP-led NDA government insulted him and the entire state by cancelling his nomination to the Rajya Sabha at the last moment. But by joining the same party, he has put us to shame," AASU president Prabin Boro said.

Boro said as a citizen of a democratic country, Hazarika was free to choose any party of his liking "but we were hoping that he would support the cause of regionalism and not of a party which has little concern for the region."

The students' body had organised a mammoth reception for Hazarika on his first visit to the state on September 4 after the Rajya Sabha fiasco and had started a campaign for his election to the Upper House as a 'torchbearer of regionalism.'

Hazarika himself had announced during the reception that he does not want to become the 'football of politics.'

Another regional force, the Asom Gana Parishad was also scathing in its comment, disappointed that Hazarika spurned its advances. AGP president Bridaban Goswami said that in the forthcoming parliamentary election it is the ideology of the party that would matter, not an individual.
"Unless the BJP learns to respect the aspirations of the Assamese people, the voters would not accept him, no matter whom they rope in," he said.
Pabitra Kumar Deka, film critic and close friend of the Sangeet Natak Akademi chairman, said: "I am bewildered. I have not understood this decision."

Assam Congress unit chief Paban Singh Ghatowar said Hazarika joining the BJP would not  make much difference to the BJP's prospects.
"For the Congress, it has no implication. Politically, he was always against our party," Ghatowar said, adding, "no doubt he is a great artiste but politics is a different ball-game and he has already tasted it through his earlier electoral debacle."
Expressing astonishment, singer and music director Khagen Mahanta said, "I am puzzled as to why Hazarika is identifying himself with a political party in his twilight years when he has kept his distance from political parties all
through his life. No great musician of Hazarika's stature has joined any political party till date, though several actors and singers have jumped into the fray of late."

Hazarika himself seems unfazed. Speaking to reporters at the BJP office in New Delhi, Hazarika said the party had proved itself  'stable' and 'prosperous' in the last five years. "The party has performed well and India has risen in the community of nations. [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee is now the prime minister of the world," he said.

Hazarika had a brief stint in politics between 1967 and 72 when he was an independent MLA.


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Sub: Begining of A New Era

The hell with those Assam saviour. Those who do nothing other than calling some bandh in Assam. It's a very wise decision that Dr. Bhupen ...

Posted by Manabendra Pathak


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